Long Term Recovery
After a mass tragedy, there are numerous long term needs that crime victims may have following the event. When we talk about long term needs, we are talking about needs that may be identified within a few days after the incident and continue for weeks, months or years. Planning for community long term needs takes on many dimensions because there are many aspects that need to be addressed in the aftermath of a mass crisis event. Community Trauma Recovery, Financial Support, Annual Observances, Permanent Site Memorials, and Resiliency centers each have their own unique planning strategies which need to be taken under consideration. It is important to recognize the many facets of long term community needs and create planning groups around those responsibilities. While the areas may overlap, the specialized expertise required in each area must be recruited. For more information on long term planning, please download the Planning document (pdf, 142 KB)
After a traumatic event, there are a number of unforeseen outcomes and challenges individuals will grapple with. Mental health is an important component for the long term case management of victims and witnesses. Up to 43 percent of those who experience Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) will struggle with substance abuse. Adolescents are also four times more likely to experience alcohol abuse. From this, mental health providers should expect a significant uptick in requests for counseling and mental health therapy following a traumatic event.
There are some important considerations when providing mental health referrals to victims, survivors, and their families:
- Mental health needs will differ among diverse victim populations;
- Victims, families, and survivors may not live in the area of an incident. As such, mental health referrals will need to be for their area.
- Expect some individuals or survivors to reject mental health services initially.
- Understand that a hug surge of mental health referrals in one area may affect normal daily operations for organizations providing mental health services; therefore communicate with mental health providers early to identify what changes in policies have taken place in response.
For a full list of mental health resources including support groups, partners, and cultural considerations, please download the Mental Health Considerations document (pdf, 253 KB).
Part of the recovery process is acknowledging what happened and those individuals impacted in a mass crisis. Annual observances and permanent memorial sites are two such ways a community can designate a location to honor victims and create a space of remembrance. Learn more about both by downloading the annual observances (pdf, 74.9 KB) and memorial sites (70.5 KB) documents.
A Resiliency Center may also be something for a community to consider. The Resiliency Center concept reflects the desire for a community to provide for healing, health, and support to the community at large. The Resiliency Center should be focused on the needs of the lcoal community, as well as a resource for victims of the tragedy. The concept of a resiliency center has been used for many years to support families needing assistance and guidance, and has recently been used in Aurora, Colorado, following the theater shooting. For an example of a resiliency center, visit www.theresiliencycenter.com. More information about resiliency centers can also be found by downloading our Resiliency Center document (pdf, 149 KB)